Pakistani Journalist’s Killing Ruled Unlawful by Kenyan Court

In a landmark ruling, the Kenyan Court has found that police acted unlawfully in the 2022 shooting death of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif. This is a significant development because it contradicts the initial explanation by Kenyan authorities who claimed it was a case of mistaken identity. The court’s decision also highlights the importance of holding police accountable for their actions.

A Kenyan court has declared the killing of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif “unlawful” and “unconstitutional“. The court ordered Kenyan law enforcement to pay 10 million Kenyan shillings (about $78,000) to Sharif’s family. In October 2022, police shot Sharif, allegedly out of mistake.

The ruling came after a petition by Javeria Siddique, Sharif’s widow, who has been pursuing justice in the High Court of Kenya in Kajiado. Judge S.N. Mutuku stated that Sharif’s killing was “arbitrary, un-proportionate, unlawful, and unconstitutional.”

On October 23, 2022, police officers fatally shot Sharif, an investigative journalist, while he was traveling in Kajiado County. The police claimed the shooting was a mistake as they were chasing a stolen vehicle.

The court awarded Sharif’s family 10 million Kenyan shillings in damages. Judge Mutuku noted that while no amount of money could truly compensate for the loss of life and the pain suffered by the family, this figure was deemed appropriate.

The court criticized the delays in the investigation by various Kenyan authorities and emphasized that the use of lethal force should only be a last resort. The court also noted that the police officers violated Sharif’s rights to life, dignity, and security under the Kenyan Constitution.

Javeria Siddique expressed that while justice was served in Kenya, it was still pending in Pakistan. She mentioned that the alleged planners of the murder are still free, and the case in Pakistan’s Supreme Court has been pending for almost a year.

This case has drawn international attention, raising concerns about police brutality and the safety of journalists in Kenya. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) welcomed the court’s decision but stressed the importance of holding those responsible for Sharif’s death accountable.

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